tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN December 9, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
for president and lost, but changed political history. tonight, the campaign of ross perot. later, martin>> now, a look at f ross perot in our c-span serious, "the contenders." >> we are four trillion dollars in debt, we are going in debt and additional $1 billion every working day of the year. while we sit here tonight, we will commit an official $50 billion an hour and a half. is not the republicans' fault or the democrats fault. i am looking for, who did it. the facts are, we have to fix it. somewhere out there there is an extra terrestrial who is doing this to us. everybody says they take
responsibility. somebody has to take responsibility for this. >> that was ross perot during the second of three presidential debates on october 15, 1992. talking about one of his favorite issues -- the u.s. debt. he won 90% of the popular vote, the largest vote for an independent candidate since theodore roosevelt. he read a second campaign in 1996. today, he is our focus on the contenders. thank you for being with us. we are doing this series as a way of looking at american history through the lens of presidential candidates who have failed in their quest for the white house but had an outside impact on american history. 29 joining us for our discussion of two hours on ross perot is doug brinkley. what interests you about ross
perot? >> he has a pioneer spirit. he really harkens back to the 19th century, early 20th century. he is more like henry ford or thomas edison. he really cares about the country. patriotism has become kind of a cheap word. ross perot was kind of a superpatriot. he wants to do what is right for our country. this comes out of his naval academy background. his constant service to our country looking for pows and mias during vietnam and constantly supporting our special forces. you just ran tells you that in 1992, perot was always on the central issue of our national election. today we are at 15 trillion dollars in debt. what he was talking about that
great sucking sounds of the jobs leaving america due to nafta outsourcing, it is probably on the left of the issue that most disturbs middle-class americans. that jobs have gone overseas and many middle america accounts are languishing. >> the issues he talked about in his campaign are being echoed by the tea party people on the right in the occupied wall street people on the left. >> exactly. he is a centrist. you cannot look at ross perot as the paradigm of typical politics. we often want to label people as right or left. he is something out of an older american wagon trains or world war two he rose. soldiers, explorers, and mentors, that is what ross perot is about. his entering in 1992 is not about politics as much as it was
public service. you have to say this about ross perot in 1992 and 1996, he put a considerable amount of money were his mouth was. he ran. every season we have people. flirting with third-party runs, but he did it and it is quite extraordinary to get 19% of the vote. is kind of unprecedented. a camp for middle-class people all over a america. it is interesting to reflect on this united we stand movement to prospero ran in 1992 and with the reform party in 1996. and we wonder will there be a ross perot that enters in 2012. if you look at his platform in 1992, he seems to be right on a lot of key issues including border problems, drugs, violence on the texas mexico border, the need for education. he has controversial things like
putting a gasoline tax on. all of these issues, his legacy really invigorates our current debate. >> for many americans outside of texas, 1992 was perhaps their introduction to ross perot. he had been on the national stage for a while. in the late 1980's, he began speaking out about these issues that he was concerned about. we looked in our video library and our first coverage of ross perot was in 1987. here he is speaking before the american bankers association that year. >> let's look at where we are and take the rose colored glasses off. all of these people saying the fundamentals are sound, i think we have had enough doctors feel good. i think we are tough enough to take bad news. i think it is time to look at the facts. we have a three trillion dollar debt by 1988. our debt is being funded by four nations at this point.
the greatest nation in the history of man does not have the will to past -- we continue to pass resolutions that put us deeper into debt and we have given up trying to live within our means of the country. there is no correlation between taxes paid in and money spent. we are losing at international business competition. some of our banks have problems, savings and loans as serious problems. wall street is bouncing all over the place. our personal spending habits of our people are as unique as our federal spending habits. people spend everything they make. all they can borrow and they have no savings. >> 1987, 24 years ago. except for upping the numbers and the fact that americans are saving because of the 2008 crisis, almost every one of these issues could be talked about with the same words today. >> that is correct. remember why he could give that
speech, he was a genius at start up operations. he understood the corporate world. in 1962 he created electronic data systems and ended up selling it a few years before that speech to general motors and became arguably the richest person in texas and was getting on the cover of fortune magazine. he knows what he is talking about as far as how to make a start up business. he was an early on with the internet revolution. the importance of data collection. he had won. invested in apple with steve jobs. he really wanted the united states in his adult life to be the great country it was of his childhood, a country that fdr brought us through and the great depression. that can do spirit. it fills him up.
the fact we were losing in the 1980's to japan a lot, and today our problems with competing with china. the fact that so many people in congress seem to be bought and paid for. getting rid of lobbyists and corporate corrupt politicians was at the core of the ross perot message. >> this is a call-in program. we in a few minutes will put our phone numbers on the screen so you can be involved with the issue that led to see he has today. this book was published "disrupting the balance of power. carolyn barta is the author. she is joining us from her home in texas. you knew ross perot as a journalist before many people met hampshire can you tell us about his roots in texarkana and was shipped the man we knew of a national stage?
>> perrault was then -- was from texarkana. he had an average texas childhood. as a boy he broke horses and traded horses. he was an eagle scout. even in later tonight i think he kept all of the traits of the eagle scout. he would set of objectives and goals and try to pursue those goals. he was very much in the texas tradition of the day. as he grew and went to the naval academy and started his own businesses, he was representing the can-do spirit of texas. his vision was a big, the state was big, there were powerless opportunities. the sky was the limit. he really sort of played into
what was the texas mythology with texas politicians who were larger than life, very successful businessman who made a fortune here. they were risk takers, they were not afraid to fail. that was the sort of spirit he had at that i think got him into this thing. >> noting that at the naval academy, he was president of his class the last couple of years. early on he showed leadership traits have the ability to galvanize people under his leadership. just a quick overview of his business career, let's take a look -- he went into business and to ibm as a salesman where he became the top salesman for the company. that was in 1957. in 1962 he founded his own company which was electronic data systems. he then sold it to general motors for $2.4 billion and stay
on the board. in 1988 he founded perot systems. in 2009 he sold that company to dell computers for $3.9 billion. he and his family are known as philanthropists. can you talk about that side of him and his family? >> they have given a fortune to all sorts of charities here in dallas. ross perot himself has made many anonymous contributions in small ways. he has helped individuals without people even knowing about it. there is a hospital here named for margot perot, his wife. he has given a lot of money to the boy scouts. it is amazing there philanthropy. >> you mentioned earlier his involvement with the end of
pows. can you tell us a little more what you know about his interest and that issue? how they created a divide between him and later president. >> we mentioned he graduated from the naval academy in annapolis as the president. that is a big deal. he was the sort of person in the navy who believe you are only as good as the guy left behind. he was a great leader. during those years when he was in the navy, he had sometimes had to go and get soldiers that were on leave or got drunk in a foreign town and got them back on the ship. it became sort of a hallmark -- you'd never leave anybody behind. he was very upset during the vietnam war that the united states -- we did not push the pow mia issue in that. ross perot stepped into the fray and it did very dramatically went to back channel negotiations with the and not to say that we want every one of
our guys back. he has become really a hero of the u.s. military veterans for his constant concern about our soldiers and our troops. it recently, i get a top for veterans day in dallas. it was a good group called daughters of world war ii. there were hundreds of world war ii veterans there. i got to talk to ross perot at dinner one night. one of the amazing stories he told me was that recently won our seals team killed osama bin laden, they thought so much of our special forces they shipped him a staff. he went to fort pierce, florida to the seal museum which people should definitely go visit if you are in town on holiday. i think our navy seals should be
time people of the year. that was just a tribute to how conscientious he is about getting jobs, performance people and his companies, helping veterans whenever he can, particularly the special forces which he thinks represents the best of the best of the american spirit. >> we visited his boyhood home in texarkana. we will show you that. as we are looking at that, we want carolyn barta to talk about his interest and taxes governments. >> he was appointed to a couple of task forces, one by former gov. bill clements. another one by former gov. mark white. clements was a republican, white succeeded him as a democrat.
they both asked ross perot to serve. one was on education reform. i think it just points out how ross perot was always one to speak his mind. he was never afraid to say what he thought. he thought that in the public schools there should be special classes for talented kids. the brightest kids should go to better class is. some of the parents -- texas parents thought that is elitism. maybe we do not want that and our public schools. ross perot very sarcastically said, ok. let's put all the five girls on the drill team. let's have everybody be the quarterback. it was just sort of an example of how he always spoke his mind. he was never reluctant to take on the top if he was asked to do a job like that for a couple of
governors that showed the democrats and republicans both liked him. for years his name had been mentioned as a potential candidates for something in texas because he was a leader. he was also in the tradition of old-time texas politicians. people like -- going back to sam houston in the republic of texas. that kind of charismatic leader. speaker sam rayburn, lbj, gov. john connally, gov. clements who was one to speak his mind, governor ann richards who was then a class by herself as well. he was so much like some of these older texans who would just tell it like it is. they did not mind doing the hard work. if he thought it would help the
state or the country, he did not mind doing the hard work to do it. >> but each time and at that point. but what to put this on the screen before we get to his campaign in 1992. a number of dd as workers were held hostage. ross perot was personally involved in the rescue of those, something that was later captured in a block. it became a national best seller and later a movie on television. can you talk about how he did this effectively? >> this is an amazing story. in 1979, jimmy carter was president. you had the beginnings of an eye iranian revolution. two of his workers for his company for electronic data systems had been held captive.
he wanted them a sprung free. he went and hired a former special forces people to go in and find a way to get that list. he ended up -- they ended up using and anti rally to spring not just his two employees, but about 10,000 political prisoners got released. they had a rendezvous and they got a very dangerous trip. they were eventually able to smuggle out through turkey. this was a highly successful extraction maneuver of getting in there and getting his guys back. he gets back to about the pows and mias. ross perot works and -- the lees and loyalty first and foremost. he will do anything for you. if you listen to people that
know him, that is the number one trade. personal loyalty to people he believes in. >> we have a great photograph. it is of him and richard crenna from the movie. it is 1992, set the stage about the reelection of george h. w. bush at how the public was feeling about him. >> remember, he had quite an impressive record of foreign affairs. he oversaw the berlin wall, delaware, the breakup of the soviet union, the head of the cold war. in 1991, the gulf war which most people thought was a great success of ousting saddam hussein from kuwait. the economy was stagnant.
by 1992, pat buchanan was going after president bush as having a silver spoon in his mouth and was an elite out of touch -- there was a populist revolt within the republican party. also, you had another resurgence of jerry brown coming in. bill clinton gets the nomination. you have the new democrat bill clinton and george herbert walker +. suddenly ross perot goes on cnn and says i will run as an independent if i can be on the ballot in all 50 states. i am not going to go out there and run the typical campaign. people want my ideas, particularly balancing the budget and stopping of outsourcing of jobs. he was opposed to the war and iraq because he thought it was going to be a mistake. special forces should have gone in and killed saddam hussein.
he watched his amazing third- party run and started soaring in the polls and became the darling of the summer of 1992. we will pick up the rest of the story in a little bit. >> let's show that larry king live interview where ross perot announces his willingness to run. to grassrootswn america were the people are hurting. people are saying, what are we in this mess? first of all, look in the mirror. we are the owners of this country. we act like white rabbits to get programmers from messages coming out of washington. >> is there any scenario in which she would run? did you give me a scenario where you would say, ok. i am in. >> if you are that serious, you the people are that serious, you register me in 50 states.
if you are not willing to organize and to detect, then this is all just talk. i am saying to ordinary folks, if you are dead serious i want to see some sweat. i want you in the ring to it. >> let me ask you about how much of a surprise that announcement was by the time it was made in february of 1992. >> i guess it surprised most people. the truth of the matter is, he had been out on the -- making speeches for, you know, several years. in particularly, leading up to the larry king live interview, he had in fact just a couple of weeks before that's, he was in tennessee to speak to a business group. he was interviewed from a
reporter there. he told him virtually the same thing. he said if he saw some skin in the game. if people would get in the ring and get him on the ballot, he but think about doing it. nothing much came of that. it was published. ross perot was talking to a man in tennessee and another one in florida who were activists in trying to draft him to run. john j. hooker in tennessee, a flamboyant businessman kept calling in and talking to him trying to get him to run. it got to the point where they started talking about, where should i announced? the considered conventional sources like the new york times, l.a. times, wall street journal. he liked larry king live. the route the campaign, he liked going on talk shows where he
could talk and get his message out. as i was told that the store, he had the editor published their formally call larry king live. i am not sure whether he said it up or just told them to ask the question. ross perot said he was going on larry king live to talk about the economy. he made an impulsive statement. he never thought it would go anywhere. the trick of the matter is he had been thinking about this for quite a long time. he made a speech in tampa to a group called "throw the hypocritical rascals out." a man down there was trying to do a draft campaign. there were signs "draft perot." he was curious about it.
how do you get on 50 ballots? he asked some of his staff people to do some research to see how you get on the ballot. even mulling it over in his head for a good while, it was a surprise to most of the country. i think he had been doing it for a good while. but his challenge to his supporters to get him on the ballot became the subject of carolyn barta's booker she contends is all about the people who followed ross perot and how they were galvanized to move outside of the conventional two party system in support of issues. we will talk a lot more about that as the program continues. these are back-to-back clubs that give you a sense of flavor. we mentioned that ross perot was very critical of the george bush's gulf war.
we will hear from that in an interview he gave to c-span in 1992. also in the spring of 1992, you will hear a clip from a very well-known texas journalist molly ivans who has now passed. she is very well known in texas politics. she was asked to talk about this texas politician she knew so well. >> they should understand why we are going to war. let's take the example you gave me. it was four months before the white house could figure out why we were doing it. finally they got it together and it was we had to get rid of nuclear and hussain. we did not accomplish any objectives. if i knock on your door and set up like to borrow your son for the middle east said this guy
can have his thrown back, you would probably hit me right in the mouth. >> i was writing about that format they had during the reagan years. i was talking about why it was a bad idea. if you make more than $70,500 a year, you are now in the same tax bracket as h.r. perot. i then added, comma, who makes more than $1 million a year. i made the fatal journalistic care, i did not check. the next day the guys at our
business desk in dallas laughing and saying, ross perot makes $1 million a day. [laughter] then a from the rank and there was an operator saying ross perot calling collect for molly ivans. it really is funny. i like the guy. i am sure he is politically incorrect to an extent it would make people's teeth heard around here. i do like ross perot. he is a hard guy to dislike. basically guys who have made a lot of money and business have a hard time working in a system of checks and balances.
the other guys party is a bit paranoid which is a slight bit like being slightly pregnant. >> our guest here in washington d.c. is douglas brinkley, presidential historian and. and in dallas, carolyn barta. begin your telephone calls starting what rolf watching us in chicago. >> thank you. he missed his chance by not calling for a roadmap to peace on drugs as successful contenders u.s. grant use medical cocaine and jfk used
speed and medically. washington jefferson, jackson, and lincoln used medical marijuana appeared each of our last three successful contenders used to both grass and a coke medically as well as recreational league. thank you. >> we are really getting at is the so-called war on drugs which became a popular phrase in 19 80s in the united states. the problem was all of these urban centers -- whole generations of kids getting addicted to different types of narcotics. his whole life he has been a champion of education. working for public schools in particular, there were public schools where drug gangs were taking over. you could not go into them including in dallas which was a very rough city, people forget, in the 1980's and 1990's. prospero took a hard line on
cracking down on drugs. we had the crack epidemic that starts hitting the united states after that. it was tough on that issue. if you are somebody who is a libertarian and believes that drugs should be legal in the united states, ross perot would not be on your side. >> matt is watching us in plano, texas. good evening ^ >> i am very glad you are having this discussion. i want to make a comment and a question. he had a profound impact. here and plan no, he ended up moving its headquarters here. because of that, i believe dr. pepper and a few other corporations moved here as well. later on he ended up sounding perot systems here as well. i thank him for that. my question is about his choice for vice president. how did that come about? he did not look too good in the
bpd day. it was a hindrance. i in not sure how many votes that cost them, but it did not make it look good. what was the thinking and a decision beside -- behind selecting james stockdale as a candidate? >> in 1992 he chose stockdale. >> he is one of the greatest americans who ever lived. he is one of the most decorated naval officers in u.s. history. of course, he had been a pow in world war -- in the vietnam war and organized a -- how to have pow resistance. he won something like 26 medals, numerous silver stars, medal of honor winner. he later became president of a neighbor -- naval war college. we are dealing with a very
serious person. ross perot admired him. he thought this was the type of person we needed in government. he chose him as his vice president which is an interesting choice. what people forget in 1992, ross perot did well in the debates. he clearly won the first debate against clinton and bush. some people would say he won all three. that is how he got to 19%. in three debates, he was at 8%. postdates he got up to 19%. stockdale struggle. he only had about one week to prepare. he got out of the gate wrong by making a comment like, who am i? other people had not heard of him before. he actually got a lot of applause when he did the debate but the media want to count on him. he really was not ready for it -- for that media frenzy you
have to expect. it made some people question whether ross perot could be president because some people s did some peopletockdale had the political skills to be president. on the other hand, he is -- they do not come any better than admiral stock del. i hate that we remember his fumbling of a debate question had not remember what an extraordinary -- the service of the admiral is almost unparalleled. >> spring of 1992 progresses into summer and people who are enthusiastic about ross perot began the work of meeting his challenge in getting his name on the ballot in all 50 states. would you describe to our audience now let access in this country as it existed in 1992 and how big a task they faced. >> it was a huge task.
in order to get on the ballot in any state, you have to meet the laws of the state. if it is a petition you have to get 100,000 and on a petition or you pay $1,000 -- the range of requirements for getting on a petition is just extraordinarily to verse. in most cases it is very hard because you have to collect all of these petition names. sometimes you have a very narrow window in which to do it in. what happened after larry king live, people started calling the ross perot headquarters in saying they wanted to get in the ring with him. they wanted to do what ever they could do to make him run. they set up a phone bank to their at his headquarters in dallas and volunteers came in
and manage the phone bank. they were having people call from all over the country. they set up the vs -- sophisticated phone bank for somebody would call in the and if they were from a certain state, would it want to work on the petition drive, did it want to volunteer? did it want to know when ross perot would be next on tv? it would go to -- to answer the person's question. what then the ross perot organization had to do -- perot called an six people from his company and asked them to start figuring out how to do this. how do we get on the ballot in 50 states and start working with people who are volunteering to find out what the law is an estate and to start working to do it.
it was an enormous task. once you get on the ballot and as you reach a certain threshold, you establish a ballot position for the future. ross perot established a ballot access position in 1992, 1996, and even -- he established in 1996 so pat buchanan who ran on the reform party ticket in 2000 had the ballot access and all of the states. initially it is almost impossible. like i said, he never feared doing the impossible. he got his team to work. he got leaders in every state to handle what was needed in that state. >> as the spring moves into summer, ross perot was reaching
39% of public approval ratings. the two parties were really beginning to take this man quite seriously. bill clinton moving to work his nomination of a new democrat and the incumbent president george bush probably wondering what was happening with this challenge from ross perot. two texans going against each other. can you tell us more about the relationship? >> first off, bush 41 is really a houston figure. it is about international companies at the oil industry. ross perot is working with ibm and with his own data services company. there are different texas industries and a different geography. they got into a terrible feud over the pow and mia issues. he really accused bush and the cia and general of being part of
a drug trade and southeast asia. there were actually going slush fund monies by selling heroin and other opiates. >> we should interject, george bush was head of the cia. >> exactly. became pretty nasty. there is no love lost between george herbert walker bush and ross perot. that is politics. the bigger question in 1992 as we are talking about this, which just heard about this populist campaign. he put somewhere around $12 million or $30 million of his own money into the game. he was also able to buy tv time. half an hour television commercials. one half an hour infomercial but garnered about 10.5 million viewers. he was following no real rules. george herbert walker bush had
been a head of the republican party and clinton was the darling of the democrat party ross perot was a vital center and trying to champion the middle-class everyday american people purses and special interests. he is the original anti money in washington guy. that is also an issue we are talking. he saw that was going to be a tumor for us. >> let's take our next call from indianapolis. >> how are you doing? "you have a question for us. >> on ross perot and bill clinton try to get to neck to neck with lyndon johnson and roosevelt, do you think we need to go back and see what we can do about jobs and everything? talking about the republicans and everything. when the republican side with
george bush and white house, you cannot put the problem on barack obama. we have to come together and make it together for the people. give the people what they want and the country things are going bad. >> jerry reflecting the comments about playing to the middle- class of america. i will move on to darcel from north carolina. >> i was one who signed up for ross perot. i can say i know i was responsible for more than 20 of my friends who i convinced not to vote democratically to vote for ross perot. >> let me ask you, looking back with the hindsight of 20 years, how do you feel about the whole effort for mr. perot? >> first of all, i really appreciate that he went outside of the box. one of his most important
speeches was "chicken and chips." you have to bring that tape out. one knew nothing about chicken and the other was computer chips. i thought that was one of the most laughable moment. both president bush and president clinton had no idea what was going on. they looked sort of an dumfounded. i was very proud that my sorority sister was the head of that. she moderated that debate. i was somewhat concerned about his daughter. i hope you guys mentioned something about his daughter was supposed to be assassinated. they were going to take him off -- he was going to leave the campaign. that was a curiosity as well. i'd was not really quite sure his feelings about race. i felt comfortable.
he had a very large turnout in flint, michigan at the hyatt regency. there were all kinds of uaw people there. they were very excited about this man. he seemed to be very sincere. when he was telling somebody who volunteers you need to put some skin in the game, he will not put all of his money he yard and see it go for naught. i think he was very responsible for any other third canada party -- candidates party to be involved. >> let me jump at that point. thank you so much. it was interesting. i am sure we will hear from other people involved in the campaign. i want you to answer one aspect of her question, that is ross perot's views on race. >> on race?
>> yes, that is what she asked about. >> be talking about -- oh, on race. he made a speech at the naacp in the course of the campaign. this was shortly before he got out. things had not been going well in the campaign. the press was determined to put him through a primary because he had not been through one. there had been a lot of negative stories about being conspiratorial. he investigated people. looking into his business and everything. anyway, things were not going well. he did not like the way the campaign was going at that point. he had agreed to go make a speech at the naacp. in the course of the speech, there was a phrase of something
like, you and your people. he used the phrase "you and your people." for what ever reason after it was over with, people interpret it to be racist that he was making some kind of racist statement. it really devastated him because he had this image of himself as a great humanitarian who was very tolerant -- racially tolerant and had no animosity or racial prejudices. he came off sounding like a racist. not long after that, he did get out. >> we will pick up the story. we've mentioned by summer he is at 39% in the polls. people working on ballot access had been successful and about half of the states. then july 16, 1992, an
announcement from ross perot about his campaign. then just two and a half months later, a second announcement per ruble watch a little bit of both. >> we have set among ourselves publicly that we must win in november. we must win a majority of the electorial votes. if we cannot win in november, the election will be decided in the house of representatives. says the house of representatives is made up primarily of democrats and republicans, our chances of winning would be pretty slim. now that the democratic party has revitalized itself, i have concluded we cannot win in november. the election will be decided in the house of representatives. the house of representatives is not pick the president until january. the new president will be --
will be unable to use the months of november and dissemble -- december to assemble the new government. i believe it would be disruptive for us to continue our program since this would obviously put it in the house of representatives and be disruptive to the country. therefore, i will not become a candidate. >> the volunteers know that this is a critical time in our nation's history. with their political party has addressed the concerns that affect the american people. they have asked me to run this campaign on the issues and to assure the problems that the american people are concerned with will be dealt with until the election is over. i know i heard many of the volunteers who worked so hard in the spring and summer when i stepped aside in july. i thought it was the right thing to do. i thought that both political parties would address the problems that face the nation. we give them a chance.
they did not do it. the volunteers on their on forged ahead and put me on the ballot in the final 26 states. the day we were on the ballot in all 50 states, the volunteers requested i come back in because the political parties had not responded to their concerns. my decision in july 30. i apologize. i thought i've was doing the right thing. i made a mistake and i take full responsibility for it. there is only one issue starting today and that is what is good for our country. looking back will not solve any of our problems. looking for work, we can fix anything. >> he followed this campaign and you understood the disappointment of people working for ross perot. what did you come to learn about the reason for him leaving in july and getting back and in
october? >> i think there were several reasons he decided to get out. the press or doing a lot of investigative stories on him he did not like. another thing was happening in the campaign. they brought some professionals and to help with the campaign. the pros had started taking over. it got really out of hand. he already had ham jordan who was a jimmy carter guy. and he brought and ed rollins. ed rollins wanted to do a slick tv ad. he wanted to do the traditional campaign. ross perot did not want any of that. he wanted a very simple kind of campaign. he wanted to do it differently than anybody had ever done
before. he just wanted to talk to the american people, when he could on tv. he wanted to do his infomercials' where he would buy pot -- by time and get on tv with his charts and explain what he thought was wrong with america and how to fix it. the pros came in and were trying to build up a different kind of campaign. he thought he had lost control of the campaign. it was not fun anymore. i think for a variety of reasons, he decided this was not going anywhere. we are not going to win. we might as well cut it off. then there is another part to the story read his volunteers were mostly devastated. they were crying. they were so upset. a lot of these people have put their lives on hold to work for him to get him on the ballot.
all of a sudden he is pulling the plug like this. some of them were smart enough to see through that. he urged volunteers to go ahead and get him on the ballot because that would be their leverage. some of them thought, you know, i think he will probably come back. in fact, he came back and it did the kind of campaign he wanted to do all along. he wanted to do a short campaign. he always thought campaigns should be no longer than five months anyway. he came back and it was a spread to the finish. he had five weeks when he came back in october. he did his infomercials'. he went on some talk shows. he finished the campaign like he started it. >> let me jump in there and take a call from mike from minneapolis. >> great program. i have been watching this.
ross perot, he used these demonstrations -- these commercials on tv. i vividly remembered as a young person he was demonstrating on the debt that america has and going through all of these things. i thought those were powerful presentations. i have never seen a candidate is that powerful presentation. and then the thing is i have heard mr. ross perot had accused a former president george bush of disrupting his daughter's wedding. he wanted to take revenge. that is one of the reasons he also ran. 2012,ay's elections for who was mr. ross perot be supporting? >> mike talked about the infomercial's and the charts. let's show you a clip of that and we will come back to doug to talk about using charts and infomercials' to talk about policy. >> tonight prospero plain talk
about jobs, debt, and the washington mess. >> good evening. we have talked a lot about the importance of having the american people fully informed so they can make intelligent decisions in the country. this is our first town hall. i thought it would be a good idea to take the most important problem first. that problem is our economy and jobs. here is the picture on our country's debt. look at how it has grown over the years. we are now up to four trillion dollars in debt. that is a staggering load for our country. to help you understand how fast in this debt has grown and one in has group, the green is the debt we had in 1980. the red is the debt that has been incurred in the last 12 years. we had an enormous growth in debt and we do not have anything to show for it.
here is another headache. it is like a guy who came into a hospital and thought he had a sore arm and found out he had been green. here we are. look right here at the red. 70% of that four trillion dollar debt is payable in the next five years. folks at washington financed long-term problems short-term to keep the interest rates down. that is suicide in business. suicide in your personal life. that is suiciding government. >> did ross perot began a trend that ross perot would -- politicians would follow? >> you guys said c-span follow capitol hill. you see it in congress all the time. this was hitting a large audience. what is amazing is it is still the issue of our time. he is trying to really drive, a point that we were going to go down as a country if we kept racking up debt. he was a business person and a
fiscal conservative. he believed to have to keep your books balanced. he ran to make that point more than anything else. i read he once said, i grew up as a young man wanting to become a pearl and i ended up becoming an irritant to the oyster. he wanted to wake us up to what he saw as a very large problem. the reason may be 10 years ago, we were getting a surplus. in this 20112012 environment this pie chart is friday. when you put that chart up to today's 15 trillion dollars in debt, ross perot was on to trying to wake us up as a paul revere kind of figure. this could be the tomb of the united states if we do not address the problem. >> we have had two callers who asked about mr. perot's
accusations concerning dirty tricks with his daughter's wedding. in the interest of time, can you briefly tell that story or what his accusations were? >> i do not think he accused bush of doing it. he thought the republicans were playing dirty tricks. his daughter was getting married. it was one of the reasons he did get out. i should have mentioned it before. i do not know what the story was that they were going to put her head on somebody else's body in a photograph and sell it -- get the tabloids to use it. he was very concerned about his family.
his family was really special. the thought of that happening was too much for him. it was another reason he did get out. >> the last question for both of you is, is there anyone on a national stage today who would be an error to ross perot? >> --an heir to ross perot? >> there have been other third- party movements. in 1948, strom thurmond and the dixiecrats, 1968 with george wallace and the american party. he was really trying to create a centrist movement. that is why he hired ed rollins to working as campaign. he was trying to play down the middle. i do not think we have somebody willing to get in the game like that. you hear sometimes mayor
bloomberg name has been evoked. donald trump has all these games for his on the public city but he has not gone into the game and focused on the issue. i think one of the things in thinking about ross perot is he actually did it. it is wanting to talk about it but to get on all 50 and to get to the point where you are getting 19% of the eighth american people -- that 19% is still the middle-class center that both president obama and whoever the republican nominee is fighting for. the working class, blue-collar, patriotic, taxpaying american citizens and rust belt towns or tumbleweed counts in the west that are hurting economically. he is talking about a massive reform. he is most like theodore roosevelt in 1912. they were the two most successful third party boats -- not electorial votes but popular
votes of the 20th century. >> one question we did not answer from an earlier caller is whether or not ross perot is a strained relationship with george bush was one of the animating factors in his campaign. the you know if that was a factor? >> i think it was a factor because he -- going back to the pow mia days, he thought that when bush was vice president the administration was not doing enough to get the mias and pows out of north vietnam. he went into the persian gulf war without a declaration of war. he also thought that president bush was too focused on foreign affairs and was not a dress and the domestic problems of the day. day. he thought he